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Innertown Pub Reopens Thursday After Building Violations Forced Extended Closure

A city report last year said the Ukrainian Village bar had raw sewage leaking in its basement. Owner Denis Fogarty said this week that was "factually incorrect."

Innertown Pub opened at 1935 W. Thomas St. in 1983.
Hannah Alani / Block Club Chicago
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UKRAINIAN VILLAGE — Innertown Pub is reopening Thursday, almost nine months after it was shut down by the city for a laundry list of building code violations.

The citations for Innertown, 1935 W. Thomas St., ranged from raw sewage leaking in the bar’s basement to hazardous electrical conditions, according to city inspection records. A city closure notice posted on the bar’s door was dated Sept. 25. 

Owner Denis Fogarty said the bar has undergone renovations while closed, including structural and electrical upgrades.

“From a customer’s perspective, the place will be the same. All the upgrades that we had to do were behind-the-scene things. So the Innertown experience will still be the same,” he said.

Fogarty also called the reports about raw sewage “factually incorrect,” and said the bar never had any plumbing issues.

Innertown has been officially cleared by the city to reopen, and most of the bar’s staff will be returning, he said.

Credit: Brandon Pool / Provided
A temporary patio is ready to open at Innertown Pub, 1935 W. Thomas St. — but first the bar needs a permit.

Innertown’s reopening will not include its patio, which opened in summer 2020 early in the pandemic.

At the time, the bar was initially rejected for a permit to install a beer garden in its back patio. 

The permit was ultimately granted after neighborhood leaders and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) allowed it to go through.

But the city cited Innertown for having an expired patio license when it shut the bar down last year.

Fogarty declined to comment on whether he might pursue a new license going forward.

Innertown has been owned by Fogarty’s family since the 1980s, and has long been a dive bar staple in the neighborhood, along with Rainbo Club, Phyllis’ Musical Inn and others.

Operating several blocks from nearby commercial districts, the bar was grandfathered into a zoning code that no longer allows bars to exist within dense residential areas.

Fogarty said he and the staff are excited to reopen, and grateful for all the customers who supported them during their closure.

“We look forward to seeing all our friends that have made the Innertown such a special place. We serve the community in a positive way, and look forward to generating business with our old clientele, and invite new clientele to come check us out,” he said.

Credit: Quinn Myers/Block Club Chicago
The Innertown Pub, 1935 W. Thomas St. in Ukrainian Village

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